The dolomite rock mined at the Pleasant Valley Quarry formed in the waters off the eastern seaboard of what is now North America, around 450 million years ago. Ancient North America was located near the equator and was home to an abundance of marine life in a shallow, warm, and reef-filled ocean. Various organisms extracted calcium from the ocean water to construct shells and reef structures, and their remains collected on the seafloor where they slowly accumulated and solidified. This process, and the increased heat and pressure of being buried under thousands of feet, is what is responsible for transforming a limey, marine mud, into the dolomite rock found at the Pleasant Valley Quarry. In the 100s of millions of years since, the processes of plate tectonics have lifted up and exposed the dolomite rock and make it ideal for all types of construction.
Since 2012, when Peckham purchased the Pleasant Valley Quarry, the company has been investing in the operation, enhancing the entranceway on North Avenue, upgrading facilities, and utilizing new equipment and technologies. One of the most significant outcomes has been reducing our carbon footprint. A goal at all Peckham facilities is to continuously improve our efficiencies to use cleaner fuels and less electricity while still producing the critically needed construction resource.
We have made significant improvements in the way the facility produces hot-mix asphalt which is used for road construction projects such as the recently paved Route 44. In 2012, the facility operated two HMA plants that ran on #2 fuel oil. We decided to shut down one plant, install a natural gas line to provide a cleaner fuel source, and focus on the other plant improvements which allow the plant to run in an efficient, state-of-the-art, environmentally sound manner.
It may sound a little old-fashioned, but sometimes the right phrase is timeless. When Peckham was founded in 1924, Bill Peckham set the stage for the next 96 years with his grit and determination. When Bill said he would do something, he did it. And he described it simply: “My word is my bond.” Since then, managers at Peckham have been saying the same phrase and living it’s message, ever since. You’ll hear it today from John Peckham (President of Peckham Industries) and the team at the Pleasant Valley Quarry. When we say we are going to do something, we do it. Enough said.
A diverse team is involved in both the technical support, as well as the day-to-day operations at the quarry. Since first established, many of the employees are residents of the Pleasant Valley community and have raised their families here. It is very common at Peckham to see several generations of families working for our company. We like to think of our company as an extended family with employees that care about each other and the communities were we operate. Geologists, environmental managers, equipment operators, professional blasters—all come together to ensure the operations run safely and smoothly. Also, importantly, we are proud of the Veterans in our workforce that have joined Peckham after serving our country.
This slogan reminds us every day that working safely is a key part of every employee’s job and we all need to look out for each other, our customers and our neighbors. Safety runs deep in our work culture and is part of the Peckham DNA. Every employee gets regular and ongoing safety training as a constant reminder to continuously improve our processes and procedures.
At Peckham, we have an environmental commitment that centers around our love of the outdoors. We care about the environment around us and strive to minimize our impact. Since 2012, the quarrying operations have increased water recycling dramatically through better operating practices, new equipment and new technologies. Systems are in place to recycle as much water as possible while still providing the necessary resources to keep dust to a minimum on internal roadways and on stockpiles. On North Avenue, a road-sweeper and water truck assure dust and rocks are swept off the road regularly every day. We also take great pride in our wetlands that are home to a wide variety of aquatic life and play an important role in providing habitat for migratory birds.
The quarry has been an integral part of the community over the years. Management of the operation has worked alongside the community’s leadership to make sure the company contributes to the community where it can. A beautification effort began several years ago alongside North Avenue, and included the rebuilding and upgrading of the quarry office. This effort also created a landscaped berm to create a safety barrier along the roadway. In addition, Peckham donates and partners with various local charities, including the Pleasant Valley Fire Department, and recently has made a significant pledge to help rebuild the Pleasant Valley Library. Our word is our bond and we are committed to giving back to the Pleasant Valley Community.
Like everyone in our community, the quarry has been impacted by COVID-19. Deemed an essential industry by the state of New York this spring, our management team has worked diligently to ensure our workforce is protected and has the proper support in place while still reporting to work every day. In fact, there has been an increased demand for road building materials to repair and repave local infrastructure while there is less traffic. As the pandemic response evolves, we will continue to be diligent in our safety efforts for our workforce, our customers and the public.
In September and November of 2020, Peckham partnered with the Red Cross to host a blood drive held at the Training Center at the Pleasant Valley Quarry. Peckham thanks everyone that joined in this effort—so important in these unprecedented times.